From left: the similarly sized Guardian and the Berliner Morgenpost
Reluctant as Dog is to contradict the sage musings of the world’s
finest media pundit, Andrew Neil, it is time this column put to bed one
of the newspaper myths that the great man has helped to perpetuate.
In his piece for the Scotsman and Evening Standard about The
Guardian’s glacially-slow plan to change its format, Neil got himself
in something of a muddle. “Rusbridger’s template is the Berliner
Morgenpost,” he wrote. The delusion has since passed into media lore,
with a number of websites claiming the same thing.
But a change to the Morgenpost format would actually mean The
Guardian doing absolutely nothing – both are virtually the same size.
The Berliner format is named after the manufacturers’ name for the
press it will be printed on and has nothing whatever to do with the
Unless the whole thing is a brilliant Guardian spoof to force The
Daily Telegraph into making a rash change, while it unveils its new
look in 2006 – as the only remaining broadsheet.
Internal announcement from Quantum Business Media. Is that what they
mean by poacher turned gamekeeper? Or game eater turned poacher,
Would sir like the humble pie?
The new editor of the Daily Mirror in Northern Ireland, Greg Harkin, certainly knows how to make an impression on the boss.
A week into his role, Harkin was due at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast
for a dinner in aid of newspaper industry charity Newstraid, whose
chairperson in Northern Ireland is Joanne McGreevy – Daily Mirror
circulation, editorial and production director, and the woman who
controls Harkin’s budget.
Suited and booted, Harkin duly arrived at the Belfast hotel in time
for dinner, but was perplexed to find it strangely empty. The reason?
The do was actually taking place at a different Hilton hotel – in
Templepatrick, 15 miles away.
Fortunately, McGreevy was able to cover for his embarrassment in her
predinner address to the audience – by telling to them all to look for
a red-faced, breathless “Harkin” to come bursting through the doors
during their meal.
Maurice the majestic
Maurice Hamilton may be considered by some to be the king of
motorsports coverage, but even he was taken aback after being elevated
to royalty during a BBC Five Live discussion with Sheikh Maktoum of
Dubai last week.
The sheikh, a member of his country’s royal family, was introduced
by Nicky Campbell, who quite correctly called him “your highness”
throughout the discussion about his new venture, Dubai’s A1 Grand Prix.
But when Hamilton was brought in to give his views on the race, the Sheikh became a little confused.
“Thank you for those kind words, your majesty,” he told the baffled hack.
Delighted though Campbell was at the slip, he probably daren’t push
the ribbing too far. If he does, Hamilton could simply remind him of
his own gaffe the week before – when he had a sudden attack of the
Spoonerisms when introducing the master of the West Kent Hunt.
Outward bound Scotsmen are first to the glory
The occasionally vicious competition between hacks from rival
Scottish newspaper groups the Herald and the Scotsman spilled out into
the countryside last week.
The crews were vying to become the media’s “Best Urban Adventure
Team” in an all-day outward bound competition organised to promote
tourism website visitscotland.com.
The Glasgow Sunday Herald team swaggered in with a reputation as
hardened survival experts, while their Edinburgh-based competitors –
cruelly nicknamed “the aesthetes” – were not expected to see out the
Yet it was the Scotsman Terriers who overcame the inclement weather to claim the crown.
“We really expected to win,” remarked a bedraggled Sunday Herald
hack after the event. “We started well, then it was downhill all the
Insert your own circulation joke here.
Inspired: Felix Dennis
Free drinks all round from thewolf in Keats’ clothing
The bearded bard returns. After the staggering sales success of his
debut volume of poetry A Glass Half Full, which, of course, had nothing
to do with the copious free wine dished out on the promotional tour,
Felix Dennis has brought out a new one, Lone Wolf.
Here is a taster, a homage to AE Houseman, from the new book: “Are
our presses rolling/Like thunder on the run,/The giant reels still
spinning,/Now I’m dead, my son?” “Aye, the presses thunder/The reels
are larger now,/The circulation’s way up;/Best you don’t know how.”
For Lone Wolf tour dates, see www.felixdennis.com